Welcome to the eleventh part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  In this update, it’s a pleasure to share with you the exotic flowers of Aeranthes arachnites.  But as is so often the case, alongside beauty and delight there is tragedy – whilst examining my Aerangis macrocentra specimen’s flower spike, which was being produced for what would have been this plant’s first ever flowering, I accidentally dropped the plant and broke the flower spike off! 

I am sorry to say that 2018 was a terrible year for many of the daffodils grown in the UK.  The daffodils that were grown for my 2018 Scented Daffodil Trial experienced snow at the end of March, at a time when many of my trialled daffodil cultivars were grown, some of my daffodils stood poised and ready, just thinking about blossoming and coming into flower. 

A great many daffodil cultivars are listed as being scented, but daffodil flowers’ fragrances vary greatly, with some daffodil fragrances being more powerful than others, and some scents being more desirable and more pleasing.

Through my Daffodil Trials I have encountered a number of daffodils, which were listed as being fragrant, but when I grew the bulbs myself, I was disappointed to find that I was unable to detect any scent from their flowers however close I got to their blooms, and however many times I examined them. 

Wildlife friendly ways to kill slugs and snails

I don’t like slug pellets.  Slug pellets have had a disastrous effect on the wild food chain – as well as killing slugs and snails, slug pellets harm hedgehogs, song thrushes, and other creatures.  Slug pellets kill these dear animals in the most cruel, drawn out, and painful manner.  Nothing could induce me to use slug pellets in my garden, allotment, or anywhere for that matter – however large the slug or snail population had become, and however many of my precious plants had been eaten. 

Why Peat Free Compost?

There are many wild, beautiful, and fascinating areas of our planet that are diminishing due to human destruction.  These precious natural areas require our protection urgently, before it’s too late and they are destroyed or lost altogether.  There are relatively small areas of rainforests, peat bogs and peatlands remaining on our planet, yet these areas are continuing to be destroyed by humans. 

I have found that peat free composts can vary enormously: from bags of compost filled with bark chips, which could be used as a mulch, but can’t be used as intended – as a compost to grow container plants or seedlings, right through to the other extreme – the finest quality composts, which are capable of producing prize and award winning plants, and of course, every compost in between these two polar opposites! 

I love growing sweet peas!  I hope to inspire and encourage you to grow your own sweet pea plants, so that you can experience these wonderful plants for yourself.

Sweet peas, also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus, are beautifully fragrant, hardy annuals.  Throughout my ongoing Sweet Pea Trials, I work to provide my readers with a wealth of information to help you to learn how to grow the healthiest, most floriferous sweet pea plants, that will produce the earliest flowers, with the tallest flowering stems over the longest flowering period!

Fragrant daffodils deliver an uplifting joy and bring an unadulterated cheer into the spring garden; these scented daffodils can brighten your view and gladden your heart.  Many daffodil cultivars are listed as being scented, but some daffodil cultivars are more perfumed and more pleasing than others.

In 2016, I decided to run a Scented Daffodil Trial, to showcase the most beautifully scented, long flowering daffodils.  

Jonathan Hogarth of Hogarth Hostas holds a National Collection of Small and Miniature Hostas.  In 2016 Jonathan exhibited his Hosta collection at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where the RHS judges presented him with a Silver-Gilt Medal, and at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where Jonathan was presented with a Gold Medal and the Best Plant Heritage Exhibit by the RHS judges.

Protecting your plants from Slugs and Snails

For many gardeners, the slug and snail population seemed to explode in 2016, with many fraught and distressed gardeners asking for my advice on the best way to protect their plants from slugs and snails.  I am strongly opposed to slug pellets.  I wouldn’t wish to kill any of the slugs or snails in my garden, as I believe a healthy eco system is important.

Welcome to the eleventh instalment of my long-term BiOrbAir review.  I planted up my BiOrbAir, a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds from Reef One, on 25th September 2014.  As this was the first time I had planted a BiOrbAir terrarium, I chose a variety of different terrarium plants and ferns to trial, so that I could monitor how successfully these plants, each of which have differing requirements, would grow inside the controlled environment of this terrarium.

Why Peat Free?

I have always loved our natural world.  I have always wished to protect every important habitat for plants, animals, and nature, all over the world.  I am passionate about protecting the rainforests and the many other wonderful, precious environments and habitats that exist on Earth, including peat bogs.  Peat bogs are amazing environments, covering just 2-3% of the planet’s surface.  

Welcome to the tenth instalment of my long-term BiOrbAir review.  I planted up my BiOrbAir, a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds from Reef One, on 25th September 2014.  As this was the first time I had planted a BiOrbAir terrarium, I chose a variety of different terrarium plants and ferns to trial, so that I could monitor how successfully these plants, each of which have differing requirements, would grow inside the controlled environment of this terrarium.

Welcome to the ninth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir.  The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds from Reef One.  I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in January 2017, this BiOrbAir terrarium is 17 months old.  Some, though not all, of the miniature orchids that are currently growing inside this terrarium were featured in the original planting of this terrarium in August 2015.

Welcome to the ninth instalment of my long-term BiOrbAir review.  I planted up my BiOrbAir, a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds, from Reef One, on 25th September 2014.  As this was the first time I had planted a BiOrbAir terrarium, I chose a variety of different plants and ferns to trial, so I could monitor how successfully these plants, each of which have differing requirements, would grow inside the controlled environment of this terrarium.  

Welcome to the eighth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir.  The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds from Reef One.  I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in December 2016, this BiOrbAir terrarium is over a year old.  

Welcome to the eighth instalment of my long-term BiOrbAir review.  I planted up my BiOrbAir, a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds, from Reef One, on 25th September 2014.  As this was the first time I had planted a BiOrbAir terrarium, I chose a variety of different plants and ferns to trial, so I could monitor how successfully these plants, each of which have differing requirements, would grow inside the controlled environment of this terrarium.

Welcome to the sixth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir.  The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds from Reef One.  I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in October 2016, this BiOrbAir terrarium is over a year old.  

Though I didn’t find 2016 to be a particularly successful year for growing Sweet Peas – the plants grown for my 2016 Sweet Pea Trial didn’t produce as many flowers as I had hoped, my love of Sweet Peas has not diminished in strength.  I love Sweet Peas.  I highly recommend that you experience growing these magnificent annual flowers.

The Sweet Peas I have grown for the 2016 Sweet Pea Trial, are also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus.  

Welcome to the seventh instalment of my long-term BiOrbAir review.  I planted up my BiOrbAir, a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds, from Reef One, on 25th September 2014.  As this was the first time I had planted a BiOrbAir terrarium, I chose a variety of different plants and ferns to trial, so I could monitor how successfully these plants, each of which have differing requirements, would grow inside the controlled environment of this terrarium.